Will Saudi Women Lose Their Virginity En Masse If They Start Driving?

My first thought is “no,” followed by a swift “none of your business.” But that wasn’t the conclusion of a recent report prepared for Saudi Arabia’s legislative assembly by a well-known academic. He predicted that if Saudi women were given the right to drive, those who had never had sex would quickly start losing their […]

Sexual Assault of Mona Eltahawy Marks Uncertain Times for Egyptian Women

At dawn on Thursday in Cairo, award-winning Egyptian American journalist and feminist Mona Eltahawy tweeted: Beaten arrested in interior ministry And then… silence. After hours of #FreeMona trending on Twitter, Eltahawy emerged from Egyptian state custody with the defiant tweet: “I AM FREE.” Via tweets, Eltahawy began describing in chilling detail her horrific ordeal with the […]

NEWS BRIEF: Despite King’s Edict, Saudi Woman Sentenced to 10 Lashings for Driving

International outcry arose this September when, just a day after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced a commitment to women’s rights and granted women voting rights in 2015, a woman named Shaima Jastaina was sentenced to 10 lashings for driving to the hospital. There is no specific law making it illegal for women in Saudi Arabia […]

Police Action Ends Afghan MP’s Hunger Strike

The 12-day hunger strike of Afghan parliament member Simin Barakzai ended yesterday when Afghan police reportedly dismantled her encampment outside the presidential building in Kabul. Barakzai began a fast-to-the-death to protest her unseating from the Afghan parliament. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Barakzai’s supporters, claimed police, disguised as doctors, dismantled their tents, handcuffed and […]

On Supposed Reforms and Unjust Lashings: A Saudi Woman Speaks Out

Last Sunday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave a speech to the Shura Council in which he granted Saudi women the right to vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015 and promised to appoint women to the Shura Council in 2013. Such political rights are welcome because of their social implications. That a […]

For Saudi Women, Voting Win Masks Driving Crackdown

In a national TV address Sunday, Saudi King Abdullah declared an end to the de facto ban on women’s suffrage. Beginning in 2015, women will be able to vote and run in local elections. This seemingly good news, heralded by the AP as “a major advancement for the rights of women,” overshadowed disturbing developments that […]

Newsflash: King Abdullah Grants Saudi Women the Right to Vote–In 2015

On Sunday, 87-year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced plans to allow women to vote, run for office in local elections and serve on the Shura Council, the 150-member king’s advisory board. However, the changes won’t take place until 2015, and some skeptics think the king will rescind the order by then. Regardless, the move […]

Update: Still No Justice for Jordan’s Garment Workers

Last week, the Ms. blog reported on the alleged rape of a Bangladeshi garment workers at a Classic Fashion garment factory in Jordan. Classic Fashion has roughly 5,000 employees–mostly guest-workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India who come to Jordan to earn more money than they could at home. The factory supplies garments to big-box […]

Another Jordanian Worker Making U.S. Clothes Alleges Factory Rapes

This week, another Bangladeshi woman has come forward to allege rape by managers at Classic Fashion, a garment factory in Jordan that supplies U.S.-based corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target and Macy’s. In June, human rights NGO the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights (IGLHR) released an 82-page report with worker testimonials that describe repeated […]

Newsflash: 14 U.S. Senators Call for End of Saudi Women Driving Ban

Yesterday, 14 U.S. Senators–all of them women–sent a joint letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asking him to end the ban on women driving in the kingdom. Arguing that the ban “stands in stark contrast with the commitments your government has made to promote the rights of Saudi women,” the letter reads: In June […]